HC Deb 10 June 1959 vol 606 cc977-8
8. Mr. Remnant

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation why a copy of his letter to Captain Thain dated 12th March, 1959, was sent by his Department to the pilot's employers.

Mr. Hay

Because the matter was one of direct concern to British European Airways the Corporation was told informally of the action my right hon. Friend had in mind about the renewal of Captain Thain's licence and in confirmation a copy of his letter of 12th March, 1959, was sent to it.

Mr. Remnant

Does not my hon. Friend agree that a pilot's licence is a matter of direct concern between the pilot and the Minister? Will he make inquiries to confirm views, subsequent to those of the Minister a few weeks ago, that this would not prejudice the pilot's case? The public does not agree with that view and will he take the public attitude as a guide to his future conduct in such matters?

Mr. Hay

My hon. Friend perhaps forgets for the moment that the Minister is responsible for the air Corporations, including British European Airways, who are obviously extremely concerned with the findings of this Report. As my hon. Friend will also know, we are setting up a special reviewing body, about which there is a later Question, to look into all the representations which Captain Thain has made.

Mr. Beswick

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that he is quite wrong in introducing the Department into the matter as, as he put it, a part employer through the Corporations? The question of certification of a pilot is a direct relationship between the pilot himself and the Department. Although it is of concern to the Corporation as to whether a pilot holds a certificate, any doubts which the Department may have in the meantime are not matters which should concern the Corporation.

Mr. Hay

That may well be so, but, as I said in reply to my hon. Friend, my right hon. Friend felt that here was a particularly important matter to be brought to the attention of the Corporations. We are looking into the whole thing and I hope that the outcome will be satisfactory.